Former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden of Birmingham, Alabama died on Sunday at the age of 91. Bowden reportedly suffered from coronavirus in 2020, but died of pancreatic cancer, according to ESPN on Sunday.
Bowden coached the Samford Bulldogs from 1959 to 1962, the West Virginia Mountaineers from 1970 to 1975, and the Florida State Seminoles from 1976 to 2009. In 44 years coaching at the National Collegiate Athletic Association level, Bowden had a record of 377 wins, 129 losses, and four ties, for an impressive winning percentage of .743.
Bowden is second all-time in College Football wins at the NCAA Football Division I level. He only trails Joe Paterno of Brooklyn, NY, who won a remarkable 409 games with Penn State from 1966 to 2011.
While with the Seminoles, Bowden guided Florida State to two College Football championships. The first came in 1993, and the second came in 1999.
In 1993, the Seminoles had a record of 12 wins and one loss. Florida State’s only loss in 1993 came to Notre Dame, in a 31-24 loss to the Fighting Irish. The Seminoles won the National Championship after beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers 18-16 in the Orange Bowl. Also that season, Seminoles quarterback Charlie Ward of Thomasville, GA became the first college football player to win the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy in the same season since running back Tony Dorsett of Rochester, PA accomplished the feat with the University of Pittsburgh in 1976.
In 1999, the Seminoles had an undefeated season of 12 wins and zero losses. They won the BCS National Championship game by beating the second ranked Virginia Tech Hokies 46-29 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA. It would be the only time in Bowden’s remarkable coaching career that he went undefeated in a single season.
As a player, Bowden played one season at the University of Alabama as a freshman in 1948, before playing four seasons at Samford from 1949 to 1952. In 2006, Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.